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Thursday, March 18, 1999 Published at 16:49 GMT

1988-89: Gibraltar killings and release of the Guildford Four

Republican mourners attending the funeral of those killed at the Milltown cemetery mob a car containing two British soldiers

Nationalist talks SDLP leader John Hume meets Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams in January 1988. Contacts continue before breaking down in September.

'Shoot to kill' Eleven RUC officers investigated by the Stalker/Sampson inquiry into an alleged "shoot to kill" policy are not to be prosecuted, the Attorney General announces in January. International criticism follows.

Birmingham Six The Court of Appeal rejects a plea by six men found guilty of the 1974 Birmingham pub bombings on January 28.

Gibraltar shootings
[ image: Mourners gather at the funeral of the IRA members shot by the SAS]
Mourners gather at the funeral of the IRA members shot by the SAS
On March 6, the SAS shoots dead three unarmed IRA members in Gibraltar. A car packed with explosives is found in nearby Marbella and Britain says the soldiers acted because they thought they were in danger, but there is widespread criticism from republicans.

At the funerals of the IRA members in Belfast's Milltown cemetery on the 16th, loyalist gunman Michael Stone opens fire and throws grenades at mourners, killing three and wounding 50.

[ image: Michael Stone opens fire on mourners at the Milltown cemetery]
Michael Stone opens fire on mourners at the Milltown cemetery
Three days later, two British soldiers are seized by a mob while driving through republican west Belfast during the funerals of those killed at Milltown. They are dragged from their car and murdered - their deaths recorded on TV and Army film.

Soldiers killed Six soldiers on a fun run are killed by a bomb in County Antrim on June 15.

On August 20, eight soldiers die when a land-mine explodes under their bus at Ballygawley, County Tyrone.

Broadcasting ban On October 19, Home Secretary Douglas Hurd bans the words of those associated with violence from TV and radio in a bid to "starve them of the oxygen of publicity".

Those banned include the IRA, Sinn Fein and the INLA on the republican side and the UDA, UVF and UFF among loyalist groups.

Extradition Britain applies to the Irish Republic for the extradition of Father Patrick Ryan in December 1988. It is eventually refused on the grounds that he would not receive a fair trial in the UK.

Haughey Charles Haughey is re-elected as Taoiseach in the Irish Republic in July 1989, but only with the support of the Progressive Democrats who form a coalition government with Fianna Fail.

Ulster Defence Regiment Security documents end up in the hands of loyalist gunmen in August and September, who use them to select republican targets. The Stevens inquiry is set up to investigate and in October, 28 members of the Ulster Defence Regiment are arrested.

Deal bomb Ten Royal Marines bandsmen are killed and 22 are injured by an IRA bomb during practice at their base in Deal, Kent, on September 22.

Guildford Four The four men jailed for the 1975 Guildford pub bombings are released by the Court of Appeal on October 19, which concludes that police had lied and fabricated confessions.

The campaign to release the Birmingham Six increases.

Conservatives At their party conference in October, the Tories vote to set up associations in Northern Ireland. The first local parties are accepted in November.

Talks possible Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Brooke says on November 3 1989 that he would not rule out talks with Sinn Fein if the IRA ended its campaign of violence.

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In this section

1997-98: Second IRA ceasefire to the Nobel Peace Prize

1995-96: Clinton's visit and the end of the IRA ceasefire

1993-94 The Downing Street Declaration and the IRA ceasefire

1990-92: Start of the talks process

1988-89: Gibraltar killings and release of the Guildford Four

1985-87: The Anglo-Irish Agreement

1981-84: Hunger strikes and the Brighton bomb

1976-80: The violence continues

1972-75: The failure of Sunningdale

1970-72: Internment and Bloody Sunday

1968-69: The troops are sent in

1939-67: Relative calm before the storm

1923-38: The fixing of the Irish border

1921-22: The Irish Free State and civil war

1917-20: The road to partition

1910-16: The 'winning' of Home Rule to the Easter Rebellion

1850-1909: Parnell, Gladstone and the battle for Home Rule

1695-1850: A time of revolution and the Great Famine

1170-1691: From Strongbow to the establishment of Protestant ascendancy